NEW YORK May 2 Ares Management LLC, an
investment firm with some $59 billion in credit and private
equity assets, is preparing for an initial public offering (IPO)
in the United States, the Financial Times reported on Thursday,
citing banking sources.
If Ares proceeds with an IPO, it would be the latest in a
string of U.S. stock market flotations by alternative asset
managers following public offerings last year from Carlyle Group
LP and Oaktree Capital Group LLC.
It would also come at a time when Ares' peer group, which
also includes Blackstone Group LP, KKR & Co LP
and Apollo Global Management LLC, has seen strong gains
in the stock market.
Since the start of the year, shares of alternative asset
managers have outperformed the wider financial sector on
expectations that buoyant capital markets will make it easier
for them to sell assets and pay rich dividends to shareholders.
The Financial Times cited bankers as saying that Ares could
launch an IPO in the next few months and that Bank of America
Merrill Lynch and JPMorgan Chase & Co were among
the leading contenders to underwrite the offering.
One banker familiar with the situation said the company had
been weighing an IPO for years, the Financial Times reported.
Ares and JPMorgan declined to comment. Bank of America
Merrill Lynch did not respond to a request for comment.
Financial publication Pension and Investments cited one of
the firm's founders, Tony Ressler, on Feb. 18 as saying on the
question of an IPO: "It's not something we are actively
considering or have enormous interest in today. We watch. We are
never the first. But, we are aware of it as an opportunity."
Los Angeles-based Ares was founded by Ressler and John
Kissick, both of whom worked as bond traders in the 1980s at
Drexel Burnham Lambert and in 1990 co-founded investment manager
Apollo with Leon Black, Marc Rowan and Joshua Harris.
At Apollo, Ressler and Harris led the firm's capital markets
business and in 1997 spun out into a new firm called Ares, which
became independent in 2002.
Unlike Apollo, Ares has always been primarily a debt
investment firm. As of the end of December, Ares had just $9
billion in private equity assets and over $48 billion in
corporate bonds, loans, structured credit products and other
In 2007, an Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund bought a stake